Postgame: UVA players on win over Panthers

uva basketballUVA players London Perrantes, Darius Thompson, Ty Jerome and Jack Salt talk with reporters after the Cavs’ 67-42 win over Pitt on Saturday.


Guard London Perrantes

On what the senior night has been to him: “Different than how I thought it was going to be. I thought I was going to be a little bit more emotional. Just knowing that it is not over is huge.  Just knowing that I have some more games to play with the team and with this coaching staff. Obviously, it is a tough day for me not getting to play here again, but I am glad we all came out here and played well and got the win. Now I just get to hang out with some family that is all in town.”

On the symbolism of the last two buckets he scored being assisted by freshmen: “As Ty [Jerome] passed me the ball and I shot it, I was like this is weird, I think it is my time to go now, but it is weird how stuff happens. Ty played extremely well tonight, and Kyle did too – everybody played well and I think Virginia will be in good hands next year.”

On how the defense has come together in the last couple weeks: “I think the slump helped us. We were not making shots, so we knew that we had to be good on the defensive end to even be a part of this game, or for it even to be close. Now we are hitting shots and still playing good defense. We knew that the shots were going to come, but now our defense has to be here for the rest of the season.”

On walking off the court with Tony Bennett: “It was cool. Walking off the floor with Coach Bennett was huge. He gave me this opportunity. Without him, I would not be here. I would not have had the success that I have had, and the program would not have had the success that it has had without him. We have gone through ups and downs. We have fought and gone head-to-head and battled each other, but we have had some good times too.”

On when Tony gave him the “keys to the offense” in his freshman season after the loss to Tennessee: “I just have to say thank you to Darius Thompson for that.  He was a part of that Tennessee team, so without him I would not be where I am today.  I remember it vividly – we sat down in the hotel restaurant to have a meeting before the Florida State game, and he just gave me the program and had the utmost faith in me. As a player, hearing that from the head coach is huge, and I think it was a good decision on his part. I had to obviously work for it, but I think I was a good meshing point for the other people around us, all the players – Joe [Harris], Justin [Anderson], Malcolm [Brogdon], Akil [Mitchell], and that whole freshman team. Obviously, it was a turning point for my career, and as I said, I would love to thank DT for that.”

On the role that he has had to play this year: “I do not like to be the main part of things. I do not like to be in the middle, but obviously, I had to for my senior day and this team needed me to be more assertive on the offensive end and be that guy this season, but it is not just me. We have some special pieces around me, and we are going to need everybody going forward.”

On if he thinks about the state he is leaving the program in: “It definitely goes through my mind, and especially when we were having that losing streak, just looking back and just cherishing every moment and everything that we have been through as a program for the past three years. Looking back at it, I do not think I will know how much I have meant to the program, until I leave and actually look back. As of right now, I just feel like somebody who is just playing for a program and being a regular dude, but I think we will be in good hands. I think it is only going up from here. I feel like every year we climb to new heights, and I think we are in some good hands for next year too.”

On what he said to Ty at midcourt when he was subbed out for the final time: “I said, ‘it is not yours yet – it is not your program yet. I still have some games to play.’ He is coming into his own, and it is good to see. For him to grow over this year – the only year that I have with him – is huge. His confidence is through the roof right now, and we need it now, but this program is definitely going to need it next year and in the years to come. I really just told him that there are a couple more games and then I am going to hand him the keys as well, just as Coach Bennett did. I think he is ready. It was a good little moment for us, for sure.”


Guard Darius Thompson

On the confidence he gets going forward from playing so much during today’s game: “The more minutes definitely helped. Finally seeing a shot going in too – it seems like it has been forever, but just going out there and playing and doing some good things definitely helped my confidence.”


Guard Ty Jerome

On the team’s recent emphasis: “I think we got back to the basics in practice. Coach Bennett said to really be humble, to know who you are as a group, and I think we got back to that, knowing what we had to do to win.”

On if he watches the other ACC basketball games to gauge potential tournament seeding: “I am going watch them because I like watching basketball. I obviously want the highest seed, but we are playing good basketball right now, so I think we are not going to be too concerned. We just want to make sure we handle our business whether we are the four seed, or whatever seed we are.”

On witnessing his first collegiate Senior Day: “I am just happy for [London Perrantes]. I only got to spend this year with him, but he has been phenomenal on and off the court, especially with me and the relationship that we have built in such a short amount of time. I am going to miss him, but we still have more basketball to play.”


Center Jack Salt

On the team’s battle with strep throat: “It has just been going around, I do not know how. It is not like we are doing anything out of the ordinary. We are being good with sweat towels and not high-fiving; I am trying not to high-five anyone, just fist-bump, but it is still spreading. I have no idea how it is still going around.”

On Pitt’s starting lineup change and when the team was informed: “Just before the game. Coach [Bennett] did not really make a big deal out of it. He said, ‘These are your new matchups. This does not change the game plan.’ It was last minute.”

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